By: Cedelf P. Tupas DUBAI – The Philippines will face powerhouse squads South Korea and China when it makes its debut in the Asian Cup in January next year in the United Arab Emirates.
Following the draw held at the posh Armani Hotel here, the Azkals landed in Group C with Kyrgyzstan, a team they have beaten twice in friendly matches two years ago.
But the real test will be against the Chinese and the Koreans, whom the Azkals will face for the first time. China beat the Philippines, 8-1, in a friendly in Guangzhou last June 2017.
“I think its a good draw because at least we’ve played two teams in the group before so we know what to expect,” said Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband.
Group A includes UAE, Thailand, India and Bahrain, while defending champion Australia landed in Group B with Syria, Palestine and Jordan. Group D will feature Iran, Iraq, Vietnam and Yemen, while Group E has Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon and North Korea.
Battling it out in Group F are Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman and Turkmenistan.
The top two teams in the six group and the four best third placed will qualify for the knockout stage.